Friday, September 30, 2011

Return performance....

Tuesday night I saw Scott H. Birham.


This time he played at the Pour House.

And I'll remember him.

Going in, I thought the name was familiar but couldn't place him.

Turns out the last time I saw him was at the Village Tavern....September 8, 2005.

Oh, he's probably played here since then but I had forgotten his unique "style".

The man is very profane.

No church picnics in the future for Scott.

The "F Bomb" was one of his milder terms.

The PoHo has one of the best sound systems in the region.

Scott brought along a battery-powered Bull Horn.

He used that a few times with his guitar.

Well, not at the same time.

Here's a shot I took back in 2005.

Might be the same guitar.

Definitely the same hat.

Or one just like it.

Scott also plays a 12-string and THAT'S pretty impressive.

Now the Mount Pleasant club is called the Charleston Village Tavern with new owners.

And a new sound system.

Wonder if they ever saw Scott play with the old set-up?

It was fun thumbing back through my photo files.

Digital photography means never having an actual negative.

That takes some getting used to.

(The pictures show more detail when you click on them.) Thanks for listening in and, if Scott's language offended you, just remember that detail the next time he's in town.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Signs of the times...

Let's see..I DO have a Smartphone that can take pictures and make videos.

And place calls.

And it "shoots" photographs.

Better NOT try to go in this place. I've been warned.

But, here I am being enticed. Beckoned.

A hearty pint of soup would be good.

As I recall, this was outside an Irish Pub in New York City.

You would expect to see something like this outside EVERY such establishment.

I'll keep my eyes peeled.

I sent this to a buddy of mine whose name is Lobb.

He wasn't nearly as excited as I thought he would be.

I told him I saw this in downtown Atlanta.

He didn't believe me. I said "but I rode its elevator!"

This one gives pause.

Auto insurance companies would frown on this type of behavior.

Safe driving would be the best way to not be stopped by the police.

When you drive so fast that ANY of the tires leaves the road, you're being reckless.

Yet I saw warnings like this posted all over Folly Beach.

At the risk of offending those who wear green in Mid-March, I did see this clever ad on a wall in Montreal.

It was a polite message of course.

And I never would have thought to look in that direction.

And it was a fun place.

I asked for the Soup Of The Day.

(Click on the photos. Aw, go ahead.) It's fun to take signs out of context. Keep your eyes open and alert for messages to have fun with later. I sure do. Thanks for signing in.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The PoHo... Inside and Out

Several music venues surprise me with the variety of their activities.

The Pour House is a good example.

Not just great musicians, like the Lee Boys, but the actual facility itself.

There's a huge deck out back that pleases the smokers who can drink and cough, er, I mean light up, as they enjoy live music.

Of course there's a second bar out there too.

In front, facing Maybank Highway, there's a small deck for El Bohio dining that's been added.

Recently the owners Alex and Vanessa Harris offered the outside walls of the place for a music mural competition.

I remember the tiny bar-with-jam-bands they had on Highway 17.

It was about half-filled with several pool tables.

They've come a long way.

And the Charleston music scene has benefited greatly.

The PoHo is packed each year when Leon Russell comes to town.

The North Mississippi All-Stars draw a full house as they rock the rafters.

Taj Mahal was a surprise booking recently. Last time in town he played the Charleston Music Hall.

Nice call Alex.

The deck often features local musicians who really enjoy the raucous welcome they receive when they hop onstage.

The sound system outside is just as fine as the famed one inside.

And, don't kid yourself...these hometown bands also have a loyal following.

That's a smart way to build business - and a great way to thank the music fans.

Of course, most of the crowd heads inside when the main act starts.

Or if it starts to rain.

(Yes, clicking on the picture - twice - makes it bigger. Lots of details.) Thanks for stopping by on this nice Fall day. Hopefully hot and humid is over for the year and there's more deck time. Come sit outside with me.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011


The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco has a rooftop "Arts Garden."

It's a very touchy-feely area.

Kids like to check out the SFMOMA sculptures and other large-scale artistic works.

The security guards seemed very lenient. Well, at least on the roof.

Older children find a different attraction at the Tosca Cafe, dating back to the 1920s.

It was a quiet early evening when I wandered into the hushed, uncrowded 90-year old North Beach watering hole.

The place was nearly empty except for a handful of regulars. It filled up later.

Unlike the Irish Coffees down at the Buena Vista, this place had glasses ready for an adult hot chocolate laced with brandy.

They call it the House Cappuccino.

Glancing in the mirror behind the bar, I saw a group of men-in-fedoras come in and walk past me.

Yikes, their suits with wide lapels looked like a gang of 1940s mobsters had arrived.

I was curious but cautious.

Turns out it was a bunch of guys who liked the earlier fashions and they meet monthly at the Tosca. It's the perfect setting for them.

Bet the guy with the white spats told somebody to bring him a hot chocolate.

Later that evening I found myself at The Saloon, the city's oldest bar.

I was there to listen to some Blues and this was the right place.

A regular said he liked coming there "because the kids don't.".

I also saw they have a no nonsense approach to running a bar.

(Click on the pictures to make them bigger. Usually works.) I had mentioned the "mobster" guys earlier so here they are. Thanks for stopping by. Ever have an adult hot chocolate?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall .....

When you return from vacation, you have to unpack.

And put things away.

And process nearly 1100 photographs. Yikes.

This is a pleasant chore though.

People without cameras miss that chance to RE-visit.

I remember smiling when this beer was brought to my table.

"Here's lookin' at you, kid."

My Smartphone has an app called "Brewster" which lets me tally every new beer I try.

It also lets me add a check mark when I repeat one.

And it shows on a map WHERE I had that beer.

This particular one is mapped in San Leandro, a town southeast of Oakland, California.

My son lives in San Diego so this amber ale appears on the map there.

His dog Sadie was dozing while guarding the front door.

When I opened this one, she was suddenly alert and we had an instant connection.

Might say I passed a Lab test in my choice of beer.

While still up in Northern California, we headed out to "climb a mountain" for a great view of fog rolling in.

Actually you drive up higher and higher and park. It's only a short walk from the parking lot to viewing spots.

Well, it WAS at 2,300 feet elevation.

This is the Richmond-San Raphael Bridge which takes you past San Quentin prison.

It sort of reminded me of our old Cooper River Bridge which did have the County Jail beneath it on the Charleston side.

The view was breath-taking and the fog DID seem to creep in on tiny cat's paws.

My daughter pointed out you can barely see the SUTRO TOWER on Twin Peaks in The City By The Bay.

That's it poking up in the upper left.

I left 90 degree weather here so the cooler California temperatures were VERY welcome.

I had packed long-sleeved shirts, jeans and slacks, remembering Mark Twain's classic "The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco."

That same afternoon, we had a snack and beverages at Lake Chalet.

This is a tranquil waterside park, right in the heart of downtown Oakland.

The after-work crowd sat out on the pier under colorful red umbrellas, took rides in an Italian gondola and watched rowers glide past as the lowering sun reflected on nearby buildings.

Yes, I sampled another local beer. I put it on the Oakland map.
Of course you should click on the photos for more detail. Twice. Then you can find the Sutro Tower. It was MUCH warmer in San Diego so I had to buy shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops and sun block. They'll get lots of use back here. Thanks for tagging along on my trip. More to come.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

House Of Blues? No, House Of BREWS

I wandered around a tasty converted house a few days ago.

It was very crafty I might add.

Here is one of the back bedrooms with the closet doors removed.

Now THAT'S a nice way to furnish a room!

Reminds me of college.

Some of you may know that I am developing a taste for craft beers. The word "light" on beer labels was beginning to annoy me.

They all seemed to be light on taste and variety.

I recently enjoyed a beer brewery bus tour that carried our small group to three local craft beer makers: PALMETTO BREWING downtown, COAST BREWING in North Charleston on the old Navy base and WESTBROOK BREWING in Mount Pleasant.

These are dedicated beer producers who love to experiment.

So here's a place to buy hundreds of these distinctive brews from all over the world.

And, they have four kegs tapped so you can sit down and enjoy a beer.

Here's the Master Bedroom I just walked through in Mt. Pleasant.

This converted home opened a few months ago. It's called HOUSE OF BREWS.

This I believe used to be the dining room before the whole house was dedicated to all things brewed.

Yes, that would include tea.

And a variety of tea pots and beer glasses.

In Belgium, there is a glass for each type of beer.

As I said in an earlier blog, "they had me at KWAK." This brew haus makes it possible to have that experience.

They have bottles of that beer AND they can sell you the cute bulb-bottomed glass in a wooden holder.

Then you go home and fill it up.

A house is not a home..until it's filled with beer.

(Click on the photos to see more details.) Thanks for stopping in. Wish I could pour you a beer.

Actually I'm drinking one right now.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Foggy Day...

Saw this in San Francisco.

It was posted on the side of a downtown bus stop kiosk.

Not surprisingly, there was a bank of thick white fog rolling across the "City By The Bay" even as I stopped to take my lop-sided skewed photo.

During my week there, the fog appeared every day but one.

And that one day was crystal clear.

I had just taken a taxi up quite steep Russian Hill and had clear views of Coit Tower on an adjacent hill.

The crisp downtown high rise buildings sprawled below me.

The next day I was aboard a Ferry for a cruise from Oakland to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.

This HAS to be the best travel bargain ever.

Go from point A to B to C and enjoy a changing harbor view along the way.

On the ferry return trip, I watched the fog inch over the hills of small Angel Island.

It was a regular ferry stop to pick up day-trippers and their bicycles.

I am assuming these are multi-speed bikes with fancy gears that let you pedal up and down the hills.

Of course, this is fog-in-motion.

Not a blinding "white out" that blocks out everything for hours at a time.

If the table with a view is empty, just wait a few minutes.

The swirling mist probably will clear away.

Your seat by the window is ready. Enjoy.

(Click to see more details. Unless it's foggy.) London has the pea soup-type fog. This one is fun to watch as it creeps along. Please stop by again to see what else happens on this recent trip. Did I mention the guys in theGentleman's Club who dress like 1920s gangsters? I will.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Things you learn "on the road"...

The world famous San Diego Zoo has approximately a gazillion visitors a year.

It has many helpful signs to make your visit more enjoyable.

The animals are grouped in logical clusters - country of origin - and arranged so they are easily visible to the public.

Oh, they can duck into their caves and hiding spots but usually are right out there.

I like that they also identify every tree. Because the zoo is also a noted zoological garden, I guess they almost have to.

No, I did NOT place my hat on the head of a cute baby seal.

It was a statue next to where real polar bears frolicked in the water.

Yes, the water was cold.

You can walk around the giant place or take a guided bus tour.

Overhead is an aerial tramway that takes you across the entire zoo.When I looked down, the monkeys were gawking up at me.

Just as famous - and a lot older - is the San Diego Harbor.

This is a real Navy Town.

There are TWO aircraft carriers to tour and they serve lunch on the fantail of the USS Midway. Hey, Patriots Point.. hint* hint*.

Larger-than-life statues form a Salute To Bob Hope and the dockside centerpiece is a GIANT statue of the Navy nurse in Times Square being kissed on VJ Day when Japan surrendered in WWII.

In fact, the whole harbor area was filled with 20 different ships, from Tall-masted schooners to a Russian submarine admitting visitors.

The Queen of them all though was the 149-year old STAR OF INDIA.

Her sails unfurled, she was a stately reminder of the harbor history.

Her iron hull - the first ever - was 3x the thickness it actually needed to be and enabled her to survive all these years.

Once a year she sails around the harbor and I bet the 150th anniversary will be something extra special!

(Click twice to make the pictures bigger.)

It was fun visiting San Diego again.

My blog started 5 years ago writing about things that happened there. Go back and check it out.

Thanks for dropping in.

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Monday, September 05, 2011

Burglers ....Orange Alert!

So you plan ahead for your vacation.

You have the post office hold your mail.

The newspaper is asked to NOT stack up the daily news in your yard.

The porch light burns night and day.

Don't want the bad guys to know you're away.

You come home to find the yellow pages directory has been hanging on your gate for 10 days. In a bright orange bag so it'll be noticed.

No signs of a break in and nobody ever steals phone books.

Good grief, I just downloaded 1098 pictures from my digital camera.

Two full memory cards.

Back in the day, a 35mm camera could shoot about 36 shots and then you had to stop and reload another roll of film.

A strong reminder that photo processing was expensive.

But, without digital, I might have missed a shot of my grandson testing his new/old Pogo Stick.

Andrew and I had gone to a HUGE Swap Meet in San Diego. He spotted this and the haggling started.

He bought it on the way out. Smart young man.

He and his sister Alex took me to see the extra high surf generated from a storm in New Zealand.

I mentioned we have The Washout at Folly Beach.

People were being alerted that high surf meant more possible peril to life and limb.

Surfers were out in force.

Danger is a warning to some and an attraction to others.

The grandchildren asked if I remembered the roller coaster at the beach that was built in 1929.

I said I did recall the wooden "monster."

I then changed the topic to ice cream.

Andrew's 3-scoop banana split looked VERY good.

I asked the counter man to make me one too.

Hey, bananas are healthy.

They are good for you.

(Click on the photos to see more details.)

Yes, of course there will be more vacation photos! Do come back and see what else happened in my personal vacation from retirement.

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